The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) finalized a rule on April 17, 2019 that would prevent the use of asbestos in product categories like automobile adhesives and building materials. Asbestos has already been retired by the industry, and this rule would close a “30-year-old loophole” that allowed asbestos products to come back without proper USEPA review. Prior to the rule, USPEA did not have the ability to prevent or restrict certain asbestos products from being reintroduced into the market.

This rule covers high-grade electrical paper, missile liner, pipeline wrap and other materials and goes into effect 60 days after publication. The rule requires companies to obtain federal approval to domestically manufacture or import specific types of products using asbestos.

The rule is not an outright asbestos ban. In fact it allows certain asbestos to continue and does not include a ban on importing raw asbestos. Public health advocates feel that the new rule still falls short of the protections needed.

USEPA is also doing a risk evaluation of the limited uses of asbestos that are still ongoing, and will impose a ban if necessary.